Women across the country are reporting incidents of sexual assault during massages at Massage Envy in large numbers. The sheer number of incidents reflects a disturbing trend in the massage therapy industry and at the over one thousand Massage Envy locations in particular.
Most recently, Travis Ray Shular, a 30-year old massage therapist from Houston, Texas was arrested on criminal charges of sexually assaulting a female customer during a massage appointment at the Garden Oaks franchise of Massage Envy in Houston. According to police records, he digitally penetrated his client’s vagina without her consent. He is being held on $30,000 bond. According to various news reports, Shular confessed to touching his client’s vagina during both a polygraph exam and in a statement to a Houston Police Department officer. The most disturbing part of the story is that this is NOT the first time Travis Shular has been accused of sexual abuse at Massage Envy.
Although Massage Envy’s corporate office was quick to issue a statement following Shular’s arrest stating that its corporate office and franchisees have a “zero tolerance policy” and conduct a thorough background check on all of its employees, there is strong reason to doubt whether that policy was actually followed on this occasion. Travis Shular was the subject of a prior sexual abuse complaint while working at a separate Massage Envy franchise in Fort Bend County,Texas in May 2014. The prior alleged victim, who herself was a Massage Envy employee, reported Travis Shuler’s sexual abuse of her during a massage to management at the Massage Envy franchise she worked in Katy, Texas and also to the Fort Bend County Sheriff’s Office and the Texas Department of State and Health Services. Travis Shular’s employment was terminated based on her report, but he was hired just months later to work as a massage therapist at the nearby Garden Oaks franchise without any warnings being issued to his clients and without any restrictions on his employment. In another cruel irony, the alleged victim in May 2014 was fired from Massage Envy because the franchise believe that she “participated” in the inappropriate act with Shular which she was reporting as a sexual assault.
A copy of Travis Shular’s licensure file with the Texas Department of State Health Services can be found here. In November 2014, the Department issued Travis Shular a warning Letter of Concern on account of the incident reported in May 2014.
The law firm of Farmer Jaffe Weissing is experienced in handling sexual abuse cases which occur during a massage, including multiple cases against Massage Envy. Our law firm handles these sexual abuse cases nationwide. If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual abuse by a massage therapist, please contact sexual abuse attorney Adam Horowitz at [email protected] or call (954) 524-2820.